The Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) on Friday 30th May 2008 launched the revised National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) 2008 – 2013 with the theme ‘’Together in fighting corruption for the future of the people and the nation’’ at the Holy Trinity Parish Hall along Blama road in Kenema.
In his address the Chairman of the ceremony Dr. Sandi Bockarie who is also the chairman of the Eastern Polytechnic in Kenema explained that the ACC came into being for the good of the nation.
For any nation to be corrupt free he said the people at the top have to be corrupt free. The head in all sectors has to be corrupt free before the ordinary man at the bottom can be corrupt free, he noted adding that this is because everything that the head does is being help or aided by the junior.
Dr. Sandi said it is difficult to wipe corruption out completely but said if corruption is wiped out completely in any nation that nation will forge ahead rapidly in terms of development.
The strategy he explained adopts a combination of measures in the fight against corruption. These include prevention centered around public education on the forms and ills of corruption in our society to generate popular support and strengthen resolve to resist and combat corruption; confrontation that includes exposure, investigation and prosecution for offences of corruption.
He called on every one to change his or her attitude in making the country corrupt free.
In his presentation the Commissioner of the ACC Lawyer Abdul Tejan Cole said the aim of the meeting was to sensitize and gain the support of civil society in the fight against corruption. He stated that they would continue to talk to the public about the ACC Strategy adding that corruption is responsible for the poor status of the people of this nation. He called on every one to come on board to fight corruption maintaining that ACC alone will not do it.
Commissioner Tejan-Cole explained that there are many ways to prevent or fight corruption, but called on all to prevent corruption rather than allowing it to happen, adding that the commission will continue to tell the people that corruption is bad.
He disclosed that the commission is undergoing restructuring to effectively execute its mandate and functions which are to investigate corruption, corruptive practices, prevent corruption and to educate the public on the evils of corruption and the benefit of a corrupt free society.
He revealed that the revised Anti Corruption Acts have now been gazetted and it will soon be introduced in parliament for promulgation.
This new Act he disclosed will give prosecution powers to the ACC by removing the office of the Attorney General in the Anti Corruption cases whilst declaration of assets by public officials will be compulsory. There are also provisions to ensure protection of whistle blowers and informants.
In his statement the Paramount Chief of Nongowa Chiefdom who is also the Chairman Council of Paramount Chiefs in Kenema district called on the ACC to make sure that the ACC document is translated into the local languages for the understanding of the masses. He pointed out that the greater part of corruption is in the high offices with those educated and in power. In his keynote address the Resident Minister East Hon. William Juana Smith described corruption as the worst disease in the society saying that it destroyed democracy, discouraged tourism and investment.
He said as a government they know that the success of combating corruption involves civil societies and the private sectors saying the government is very much committed in fighting corruption. The Director Prevention Systems and process review Mrs. Neneh Dabor in her vote of thanks stressed on the significance of corrupt practice prevention and urged the people to always prevent in order to achieve its mandate.
By Saffa Moriba in Kenema